George Henry Lovewell was born in 1855, in Dubuque, Iowa, to Samuel Joseph Lovewell and Adeline Foster. Samuel was a photographer and was known to have photographed a number of Civil War scenes.
After learning the trade from his father, George moved to California and opened a tin-type studio in Stockton, California, before migrating to Australia in 1880, aboard the ship aptly-named, Australia.
He arrived in NSW but immediately moved to Adelaide, where he managed the San Francisco Portrait Gallery in Rundle Street. George then moved back to Sydney where he worked in partnership with fellow American William Nutting Tuttle of the famous Tuttle & Co. This was short-lived and he was soon in New Zealand, opening a studio Lovewell, Wing & Co., in Manners Street, Wellington.
Simon Wing had been in business with George’s father back in the US and was part of Lovewell, Wing & Co. in name only. He had a number of studios in the US using the Wing name.
The NZ business wound up in March 1881 and George then made his way to Western Australia, where he opened a studio in Hay Street, Perth (opposite J.H. Monger’s store) on 7 November 1881, boasting that his was the only Perth studio to have photographs taken and finished in 10 minutes.
George arrived as part of an eastern states group of photographers, including Mr Greenfeld who’d also opened a studio on Hay Street, all of whom came to WA for the 1881 Perth International Exhibition, which opened on 21 November.
In July 1882, Lovewell, Sivyer & Co., left Geraldton aboard the Otway, with Lovewell intending to return to Melbourne to join Tuttle & Co., on a tour of New Zealand.
In 1883 he moved to Melbourne, but not before spending some time in Tasmania. In Melbourne he takes over the Gove & Allen studio on Swanston Street and soon after opening a second studio with James Charles Foyle, operating under the name Lovewell & Foyle. This dissolves and the following year Lovewell is operating Elite Studio, in Timor Street, Warrnambool, which later closed in 1891.
By 1886 he’d married Catherine Maud Andrews, with whom he had one son, Joseph in 1894. But that same year, things appear to be heading downhill with George becomes insolvent due to debts sustained by one of his studios on Swanston Street in the Melbourne CBD. Then in 1890, a creditor files a bankruptcy sequestration order against George. Four days later, he voluntarily sequesters his estate.
Then in June 1893, George appears to be in debt again and on the run from the law who were trying to summon him to Court. He appears to be operating a second studio in Ararat and potentially a third in Wagga Wagga.
In 1894, his mate from Tuttle & Co. helps him out and it looks like George is their regional rep.
That same year he puts his wife and infant son on a ship to California, with the tickets paid for by George’s father and then two years later, newspapers mention that George has booked himself a passage to South Africa, although it seems he never went.
George joins his wife at some point in the next few years and by 1902 was living back in Los Angeles.
George died on 18 April 1923 in Los Angeles, California.